How to Start Paddling

By on August 20, 2018
How to Start Paddling

Are you thinking about going kayaking for the first time?  It may seem a bit confusing in the beginning as there are so many different types of canoes, kayaks and paddles to choose from.   Let’s get the basics figured out and you can quickly learn how to start paddling and enjoy your trip rather than making a wet exit from a kayak.

The Kayaks

The first thing you need to know about kayaking is what type of trip you want to take.  Do you want to try white water or maybe something calmer like flat water.  Even at that there are different kayaks, sea kayaks, racing kayaks, rapid water, and sit on top kayaks.  You can have kayaks made out of fiberglass or plastic.  The cost of buying your own kayak will vary on the type as well, if this is your first time out then a plastic boat for calm water is probably best.  Here is a visual look at the different types of kayaks you can try out.

Kayaks come in different widths as well as lengths but for a beginner you might want to start out with a wider kayak.  The wider kayaks are more stable and less likely to tip over.  When you are buying your first kayak they will be marked as “beginner level” or “easy to paddle”.  They are also going to be made out of plastic with fiberglass making up the narrower range of kayaks.  Narrower kayaks are what you want to work up to as they better fit the more experienced kayaker.  Try out a friends kayak if you can it will let you know whether you need wider or narrower.

You might find that the longer sea kayaks are easier to paddle especially if you plan on going a fair distance across a lake or along a wider slow moving river.  Shorter kayaks work better on smaller rivers where you aren’t doing as much paddling, or if you are just kayaking across a lake.  If you are planning on spending an entire afternoon or longer on the water then the long sea kayak is better.  Longer kayaks are easier to paddle and they are easier to keep in a straight line as you move through the water.  The proportion of length versus width can make all the difference in the world when it comes to kayaking.


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